Health

NCBI ROFL: Depiction of elderly and disabled people on road traffic signs: international comparison.

DiscoblogBy ncbi roflFeb 16, 2010 12:00 AM
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“The traffic sign for elderly or disabled people crossing the road was introduced in the United Kingdom in 1981 after a children’s competition.  It portrays a silhouette of a man with a flexed posture using a cane and leading a kyphotic woman… The same sign is also used for frail, disabled, or blind people, even though many of these people are not old. The sign implies that osteopaenic vertebral collapse and the need for mobility aids are to be expected with physical disability as well as with advancing age. Elderly people should not be stigmatised as being impaired or inevitably disabled. We had observed that some countries did not depict these groups in this way and wondered how road signs worldwide illustrate elderly people, as well as people with physical disabilities…We received 119 replies from British missions abroad and seven replies from British embassies, and we found five countries with signs by using an internet search… many countries (for example, Argentina, Brunei, and Macedonia) informed us that their country did not have a road sign warning of elderly, disabled, blind, or deaf people. Of the 118 countries for which we obtained information, 35 (30%) had a road traffic sign featuring one or more of the elderly, blind, deaf, or disabled categories.”

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Image: flickr/Daniel Hughes

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